by Elyse Wurm
ABOUT a quarter of Australian students experience bullying, shocking information from the Queensland Department of Education reveals.
A department spokesman said all state schools took a zero-tolerance approach to bullying but it was complex and could take many forms while also occurring both inside and outside school.
While specific data for Queensland was unavailable, he said it was a serious issue that required a response from the whole community.
"The department has a comprehensive framework of policies and procedures to help schools create safe and supportive school environments," he said.
"The Department's Learning and Well-being Framework guides schools in the development of a whole-school approach to support students' well-being and promote good mental health and help-seeking behaviours.
Southern Downs Suicide Prevention Group director Johnno Felton said he was upset and angry in the wake of Dolly's death and something needed to be done to stop bullying.
He said bullying was one of the top four reasons people experienced mental health challenges and may consider taking their own life.
"School's meant to be a safe environment but something has gone wrong," he said.
"There's oodles of school programs in place but they're not working."
Mr Felton said bullying was not getting any better and perpetrators needed to be held to account.
"If they're showing no remorse, they've got to be made responsible for their actions," he said.
Warwick Christian College principal Carmelo Rubio said bullying was an issue at every school, but it could be difficult to differentiate between bullying and a difference of opinion.
"If any child comes to me and says this is happening, I will handle it as quickly as I can and talk to those involved," he said.
"We work to keep families informed and included in the investigation, healing and restoration process."
Mr Rubio said the school would be extending its social curriculum this year to include teaching about all forms of bullying, handling technology, resilience and speaking out when things are difficult.
"The programs we use are designed to educate and empower students to make good choices and to develop positive character traits in a wide variety of settings at school, home, work and society."
The Department of Education started an annual community awareness campaign in 2010 to combat bullying.
Queensland is also the lead jurisdiction in the Safe and Supportive School Communities Working Group, driving the provision of evidence-based information and advice on bullying, harassment and violence for Australian teachers, parents and students.
The spokesman said a dedicated team was created to assist schools to respond to and prevent online issues, as well as providing cyber-safety information.
"Principals deal with cyber safety as part of mainstream conversation in schools, with schools regularly training students in the proper use of technology within the curriculum," he said.
The Daily News approached Scots PGC College for information about its bullying policies and procedures but the school declined to provide a comment.
If you or anyone you know needs support call Lifeline on 13 11 14, Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800 or visit Lifeline.org.au.